Monday, August 23, 2010

Australian Politics Has Taken An Interesting Turn

In case you've been living under a rock, or not in Australia so in which case you probably haven't heard, we had a federal election here on the weekend. The outcome of which is taken an interesting turn. It would appear that we have a hung parliament, i.e. no particular party has a majority to govern in its own right. This hasn't happened since WWII.

There's a few options and they are covered well in this article from The Australian. Basically, the former Labor government, now in caretaker mode, can visit the Governor-General (G-G) and claim to be capable of forming a minority government if they feel that they have enough support in parliament. The G-G would then swear in a Labor Government. If not, the Labor leader would inform the G-G to call the leader of the Opposition to swear them in as the government. Or we could just have another election. Seeing as that costs some $4 for every man, woman and child (not sure where transexuals/transgenders fit in here) we'd be spending about $80-odd million put the electioneering costs of each candidate. That money will be wiped from the markets quickly enough due to the uncertainty created anyway. Looks like we've finally given the G-G something valuable to do. The position hasn't really been utilised since 1975.

I watched a special 7:30 Report last night where three independents, Tony Windsor, Bob Katter and Rob Oakeshott, were interviewed. They plan to act as a group and side with whoever offers stable, workable government. All of them have a National Party background and all have their reasons for not being associated with the National Party. I guess that counts out them siding with the Liberal/National Party coalition.

Something Rob Oakeshott said that was very much worth listening to. He wanted to see an end to party-focused politicians and see Australia-focused politicians. Hey, that might work. The members of the House of Representatives are supposed to represent their constituents first and not their parties. If workable government was attainable then more and more people would be willing to vote for independent candidates and the major parties would be very concerned that this would lead to a real lessening of their support and hung parliaments in elections to come. The independents may not become a major political force on their own but would hold the balance of power. I wouldn't be unhappy to see that as long as it works. It would certainly lead to better policy in government.

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